Author Topic: Our Men in Benghazi  (Read 1424 times)

Cain

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Our Men in Benghazi
« on: May 09, 2011, 07:44:28 am »
Its cute how all those Libyan rebels are for democracy and freedom so long as it only applies to them and their own.  It's like they've already taken an advance course in liberal democratic hypocrisy:

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These migrants, almost all of them black Africans who found refuge from such places as Chad, Eritrea and Sudan’s ravaged Darfur region in Colonel Muammar Qaddafi’s Libya, say they are targets of rebels in the east, where they have all too often been mistaken for mercenaries in the pay of the colonel.

Their journey to Libya’s border is perilous. Many say they have witnessed massacres of other black Africans. Even the wounded are not welcome. Ahmed Muhammad Zakaria, a 20-year-old Chadian living in Benghazi, was shot in the leg by rebels, but says people in the local hospital, rather than treat him, told him to go to Egypt. A ten-year-old boy infected with HIV from a blood transfusion in Libya was told that he and his family were no longer welcome in the rebel-held east. “Burn them all,” said one Benghazi native of the blacks fleeing Libya.

This is becoming an epic clusterfuck in record time.  Even the Iraq War didn't go to shit as quickly, and I'm including Zarqawi and the looting in that calculus.

Funny though, that all of those who talked about a moral case for intervening in the civil war are strangely silent on these atrocities.

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2011, 03:59:42 pm »
Damn, how typical. I hope the US doesn't end up bogged down in this mess.

Cain

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2011, 05:08:22 pm »
lolz

http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2008/06/08TRIPOLI430.html

Quote
Frustration at the inability of eastern Libyans to effectively challenge Qadhafi's regime, together with a concerted ideological campaign by returned Libyan fighters from earlier conflicts, have played important roles in Derna's development as a wellspring of Libyan foreign fighters in Iraq. Other factors include a dearth of social outlets for young people, local pride in Derna's history as a locus of fierce opposition to occupation, economic disenfranchisement among the town's young men.  Depictions on satellite television of events in Iraq and Palestine fuel the widespread view that resistance to coalition forces is justified and necessary.  One Libyan interlocutor likened young men in Derna to Bruce Willis' character in the action picture "Die Hard", who stubbornly refused to die quietly.  For them, resistance against coalition forces in Iraq is an important act of 'jihad' and a last act of defiance against the Qadhafi regime.

[...]

Over lunch at a popular restaurant just off the waterfront, xxxxxxxxxxxx and his business partner (who declined to give his name)discussed at length the local political-economic, cultural and religious scene, noting that it was "well-known" that a large number of suicide bombers (invariably described as "martyrs") and foreign fighters in Iraq hailed from Derna, a fact in which the town "takes great pride".  xxxxxxxxxxxx stressed the importance of the link between the domestic political situation in Libya and the flow of foreign fighters in Iraq. Residents of eastern Libya in general, and Derna in particular, view the al-Qadhafa clan as uneducated, uncouth interlopers from an inconsequential part of the country who have "stolen" the right to rule in Libya. (Note: Qadhafi's hometown, Sirte, is a remote spot located on the coast midway between the leading cities of Tripoli and Benghazi.  End note.)  Easterners had tried and failed to bring down Qadhafi's regime via the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group's (LIFG) insurgency in the 1990s.  6. © There was a strong perception, he said, that the U.S. had decided in the wake of Qadhafi's decision to abandon WMD aspirations and renounce terrorism to support the regime to secure counter-terrorism cooperation and ensure continued oil and natural gas production.  Many easterners feared the U.S. would not allow Qadhafi's regime to fall and therefore viewed direct confrontation with the GOL in the near-term as a fool's errand.  At the same time, sending young Libyans to fight in Iraq was "an embarrassment" to Qadhafi.  Fighting against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq represented a way for frustrated young radicals to strike a blow against both Qadhafi and against his perceived American backers.  Dismissing P/E Chief's argument that we have privately pressed the GOL to adopt further political and economic reforms, xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that human rights activist Fathi el-Jahmi (who hails from Benghazi), remained in detention.  The U.S. surely had the wherewithal to secure el-Jahmi's release if it really cared about human rights; the fact that el-Jahmi remained in detention was viewed as one sign that the U.S. tacitly supported Qadhafi, regardless of his actions. (Note: We heard a similar line of reasoning from Libyan contacts in Benghazi.

Most young men watched a mix of al-Jazeera news, religious sermons and western action films on English language satellite channels broadcast from the Gulf.  The result was a heady mixture of violence, religious conservatism and hatred of U.S. policy in Iraq and Palestine.  The consensus view in Derna is that the U.S. blindly supports Israel and has invaded Iraq to secure oil reserves and position itself to attack Iran, he said.  He dismissed P/E Chief's attempts to clarify U.S. policy, stressing that most people base their judgments on information they receive from satellite television and at the mosque. 

PRIDE IN DERNA'S HISTORY AS A TOWN OF FIGHTERS  11. © xxxxxxxxxxxx attributed the flow of foreign fighters from Derna in part to local pride in the town's reputation as a historical locus of resistance to occupation.  While many of the town's citizens were uncomfortable with the town's increasingly conservative Islamist bent, the fact that young men from Derna traveled to Iraq in disproportionate numbers to fight against coalition forces was viewed through a different lens.  Not everyone liked the "bearded ones" (a reference to conservative imams) or their message, xxxxxxxxxxxx said, but the duty of a Muslim in general - and of a son of Derna in particular - was to resist occupation of Muslim lands through jihad. "It's jihad - it's our duty, and you're talking about people who don't have much else to be proud of."  Derna's residents might take issue with attempts to ban smoking or restrict social activities, but there was consensus on "basic issues" like jihad.  Depictions on al-Jazeera of events in Iraq and Palestine fueled the widely-held view in Derna that resistance to coalition forces was "correct and necessary".  Referring to actor Bruce Willis' character in the action picture "Die Hard", who stubbornly refused to die quietly, he said many young men in Derna viewed resistance against Qadhafi's regime and against coalition forces in Iraq as an important last act of defiance.  12. © Claiming "most Libyans" shared that sentiment, xxxxxxxxxxxx proudly said the difference was that Derna's sons actually acted on their beliefs.  Derna had historically resisted "occupations of all kinds - Ottoman, Italian, American (a reference to the 1805 attack on Derna led by William Eaton), and Qadhafi's."  Derna's role in opposing the Italian occupation in the early 20th century helped foster the near-deification of Libyan resistance leader Omar al-Mukhtar, who hailed from eastern Libya.  A visit to the al-Sahab mosque near the town's center was telling.  Large murals on the mosque's exterior (inaccurately) depicted Islamic warriors besting what appeared to be Roman soldiers.  The mosque's imam showed P/E Chief a series of small shrines to medieval holy men and a small cemetery filled with graves of "martyrs" who had resisted Ottoman and Italian occupation.  Many of the markers were garlanded with flowers; xxxxxxxxxxxx said families often come to picnic in the mosque's garden on holidays and pay their respects at the cemetery.

Cain

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2011, 05:17:27 pm »
More lolz

http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2008/06/08TRIPOLI457.html

Quote
In a strongly worded speech at what was characterized as a mini-Arab League summit, Muammar al-Qadhafi sharply criticized a French-backed Mediterranean Union proposal, claiming that attempts to incentivize southern Mediterranean states with investment schemes were insulting.  Claiming that the new entity would undermine Arab and African member states' commitments to the Arab League (AL)and African Union (AU), respectively, he suggested that an alternative could be formal EU cooperation with the AL and AU, to be coordinated through the headquarters of the latter two organizations.  A visit to Tripoli by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair coincided with the mini-summit; al-Qadhafi reportedly told Blair he was concerned that the Mediterranean Union proposal represented an effort by southern European states to create a de facto North African bulwark against illegal migration from sub-Saharan Africa, and to "further legitimize" Israel at the expense of Arab states.

Cain

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2011, 05:30:38 pm »
lolz squared

http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2007/11/07TRIPOLI967.html

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Libya has a long history of resource nationalism linked to the policies and rhetoric of the Qadhafi regime. Beginning in the 1990's, many of these practices were scaled back; however, the removal of U.S. and UN sanctions and Libya's attendant opening to the world have prompted a resurgence of measures designed to increase the GOL's control over and share of revenue from hydrocarbon resources.

[...]

With the lifting of UN and U.S. sanctions, foreign investment has surged back in to Libya over the past three years. -- U.S. companies adopted a number of return strategies, from buying back old concessions (Marathon and ConocoPhillips), winning bids for new blocs (Chevron and ExxonMobil), or a combination of both (Amerada Hess and Oxy). Since January 2005, there have been three Exploration and Production Sharing (EPSA) rounds, in which exploration areas have been competitively bid to foreign companies. These steps have produced a flurry of new work, as the more than forty international oil companies (exclusive of oil service companies) toil to discover marketable quantities of oil and gas. -- Several new "one-off" deals have also been concluded, including massive deals with Shell and British Petroleum, and a 25-year extension of Italian company ENI's oil and gas EPSA's. -- The GOL has also shown a growing interest in developing its natural gas capabilities; an EPSA round for gas will come to a close this December.

[...]

3.(C) With this inflow of capital, and in particular the return of international oil companies (IOCs), there has been growing evidence of Libyan resource nationalism. The regime has made a point of putting companies on notice that "exploitative" behavior will not be tolerated. In his annual speech marking the founding of his regime, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi in 2006 said: "Oil companies are controlled by foreigners who have made millions from them -- now, Libyans must take their place to profit from this money." His son, Seif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, said in March 2007 that, "We will not tolerate a foreign company to make a profit at the expense of a Libyan citizen."

4.(C) Beyond the rhetoric, there are other signs of growing resource nationalism. -- Some IOCs with local subsidiaries have been forced to adopt Libyan names this year, including TOTAL (now officially titled "Mabruk"), Repsol ("Akakoss"), ENI ("Mellita") and Veba ("Al-Hurruj"), although these names have yet to catch on. -- The Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) is currently in the process of reworking long-standing oil concessions with several different IOCs (Ref B), in an effort to wring more favorable terms. There is a growing concern in the IOC community that NOC, emboldened by soaring oil prices and the press of would-be suitors, will seek better terms on both concession and production-sharing agreements, even those signed very recently. -- Libyan labor laws have also been amended to "Libyanize" the economy in several key sectors, and IOCs are now being forced to hire untrained Libyan employees. The Libyan National Oil Company (NOC) has recently begun insisting that deputy general managers, finance managers and human resource managers in local offices of IOC's be Libyan. -- The enactment of Law #443 of 2006 obligated most foreign companies to form joint ventures with Libyan companies in order to operate in the country. (Note: This currently excludes IOCs, but includes all foreign oil and gas service companies. End Note).

5.(C) The latest EPSA rounds could well prove to be a testing ground for how far Libya will travel down this path. The intense competition of the bid rounds led to winning bids that TRIPOLI 00000967 002 OF 002 are widely considered by hydrocarbon industry experts to be economically untenable. Chinese and Russian bids that allow companies to book only 7-10% of future production were hailed by NOC Chairman Shukri Ghanem as "very good for us...and "[clearly] also good for the companies, since they submitted the offer".

HARMFUL TO LIBYA'S OWN INTERESTS?

6.(C) There is widespread concern among industry experts, however, that Libya's zeal for deriving maximum financial benefit from oil/gas concessions will adversely impact its energy resource development in the mid- to long-term, as low-bidding companies will under-invest, under-perform and under-produce. The expectation is that some of the companies that submitted unfeasible bids will be forced to abandon their concessions, further delaying the development of Libya's energy infrastructure.

COMMENT

7.(C) Libya needs to exploit its hydrocarbon resources to provide for its rapidly-growing, relatively young population. To do so, it requires extensive foreign investment and participation by credible IOCs. Reformist elements in the Libyan government and the small but growing private sector recognize this reality. But those who dominate Libya's political and economic leadership are pursuing increasingly nationalistic policies in the energy sector that could jeopardize efficient exploitation of Libya's extensive oil and gas reserves. Effective U.S. engagement on this issue should take the form of demonstrating the clear downsides to the GOL of pursuing this approach, particularly with respect to attracting participation by credible international oil companies in the oil/gas sector and foreign direct investment. MILAM 0 11/15/2007 5833 ECON,EPET,LY GROWTH OF RESOURCE NATIONALISM IN LIBYA Libya has a long history of resource nationalism linked to the policies and rhetoric of the Qadhafi regime. Beginning in the 1990's, many of these practices were scaled back; however, the removal of U.S. and UN sanctions and Libya's attendant opening to the world have prompted a resurgence of measures designed to increase the GOL's control over and share of revenue from hydrocarbon resources.

Cain

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2011, 05:34:29 pm »
lolz cubed

http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2008/02/08TRIPOLI120.html

Quote
A U.S.-Libyan dual national who regularly visits family members in eastern Libya recently described for us social, political and economic factors that have contributed to and facilitated participation by a disproportionately large number of eastern Libya's native sons in "martyrdom acts" and other insurgency operations in Libya and Iraq. A reportedly deliberate GOL policy to keep the east poor as a means by which to limit the potential political threat to Qadhafi's regime has helped fuel the perception among many young eastern Libyan men that they have nothing to lose by participating in extremist violence at home and in Iraq. The prospect of financial compensation for their impoverished families motivates some, but local pride in eastern Libya's historical role as a locus of opposition to occupying forces of various stripes is also an important factor. The fact that eastern Libyan mosques are more numerous and remote, together with tight local social networks, has reportedly circumscribed the ability of GOL security organizations to monitor and control the activities of radical imams as effectively as elsewhere in Libya. Unlike the rest of the country, sermons in eastern Libyan mosques are laced with phraseology urging worshippers to support jihad in Iraq and elsewhere through direct participation or financial contributions. While senior regime figures, including Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, appear to have recognized that the east merits more attention and investment, the reported ability of radical imams to propagate messages urging support for and participation in jihad despite GOL security organizations' efforts suggests that claims by senior GOL officials that the east is under control may be overstated.

2.(S/NF) In a meeting February 5, U.S.-Libyan dual national xxxxxxxxxxxx(strictly protect) told P/E Chief that eastern Libya remains a locus of extremist activity over which GOL security services have comparatively limited control.

GOL KEEPS EAST POOR TO KEEP IT POLITICALLY DISENFRANCHISED ...

3.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx said eastern Libya suffers from a disproportionately high level of unemployment, particularly for young men between the ages of 18 and 34. "At least half" of the young men in that demographic are unemployed or only intermittently employed. The situation reflects in part the Qadhafi regime's belief that if it keeps the east poor enough, it will be unable to mount any serious political opposition to the regime. Explaining the rationale, he cited a Libyan proverb: "If you treat them like dogs, they will follow you like dogs".

... BUT RECENT VIOLENCE SUGGESTS GOL'S APPROACH FLAWED

4.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx said recent events in Benghazi and Derna suggest that the GOL's premise is flawed. Family members with whom he is in regular contact told him during his visit that there were violent clashes between local extremists and GOL elements late last year. In one incident, extremists opened fire in proximity to a Benghazi hospital in connection with their attempts to secure medical assistance for a sick or injured comrade. In another, there was an explosion or an exchange of gunfire (accounts differed) at a traffic circle in a Benghazi exurb in connection with an attempt by a police officer to stop a vehicle being used by extremists. (Note: Both incidents were reported late last year in other channels. This is the first mention we've heard of these events from other sources. End note.) xxxxxxxxxxxx also offered non-specific accounts of raids by extremists, whom they understood to be affiliated with the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, on police and military installations to secure weapons.

"NOTHING TO LOSE"

5.(S/NF) Citing conversations with relatives, xxxxxxxxxxxx said the unemployed, disenfranchised young men of eastern Libya "have nothing to lose" and are therefore "willing to sacrifice themselves" for something greater than themselves by engaging in TRIPOLI 00000120 002.2 OF 004 extremism in the name of religion. "Their lives mean nothing and they know it, so they seek to give meaning to their existence through their deaths", he said. The lack of jobs and dim prospects for future employment, together with increased costs of living, mean that many young men lack the means to marry, leaving them without a key measure of social status and stability in what remains a traditional society. As in parts of neighboring Egypt, the average age at which men marry has increased in many parts of eastern Libya. Many now marry in their early to mid-30's, which would have been considered "middle age" in the not too distant past.

COMPENSATION FOR MARTYRS' FAMILIES AN INCENTIVE FOR SOME

6.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx flatly stated that some young men, particularly those from more impoverished clans, are motivated by the promise of long-term financial compensation for their families should they complete "martyrdom acts" in Iraq or elsewhere. Noting that incomes in the east are low, he offered that extremist networks are able to incentivize young men to kill themselves by offering comparatively small payments of 150-200 Libyan dinar/month (approximately 120-160 USD/month) to families of "martyrs". (Note: As a point of reference, most government salaries range from 250 to 330 Libyan dinar per month. End note.)

"PERVERSE PRIDE" AS GEOGRAPHICAL LOCUS OF RESISTANCE A DRAW FOR OTHERS

7.(S/NF) The fact that the east has been comparatively disenfranchised, together with its historical role as a locus of opposition to the Ottoman and Italian occupations, contribute to a "perverse sense of pride" among eastern Libyans in their role as a main supplier of young men for jihad efforts in Iraq and elsewhere, xxxxxxxxxxxx said. He recounted a large dinner in Derna hosted by a family friend that he attended in summer 2007. Conversation among the mostly middle-aged male group of guests focused on news that two young men from Derna had recently killed themselves in suicide operations in Iraq. Dinner guests offered a mix of "condolences and congratulations" to the two young men's relatives.

8.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx said he was struck by the level sentiment against Coalition forces in Iraq, and by the obvious pride the dinner guests took in the fact that two of their native sons had "struck a blow" against "occupying Crusader forces in Iraq". He emphasized that the dinner was one of the relatively few occasions in Libya in which he felt uncomfortable by dint of having U.S. citizenship. In xxxxxxxxxxxx view, eastern Libyans are not necessarily anti-American, but are strongly opposed to a U.S. military presence in Iraq or any other Muslim country. In the 1980's, the talk had been directed against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan; now, it was focused on the U.S. presence in Iraq.

9.(S/NF) Noting that the leader of Libya's resistance against the Italian occupation in the early 20th century, national hero Omar Mukhtar, was from the eastern village of Janzour, xxxxxxxxxxxx cautioned that it would be a mistake to think that young men from Derna were motivated to undertake suicide operations in Iraq solely by unemployment and the chance to secure a stipend for their families The region had a long, proud history of opposing occupation forces of one stripe or another; its residents took pride in their willingness to "fight for justice and their faith" despite their relative poverty.

IRAQ SEEN AS A "LOCAL" ISSUE FOR YOUNG EASTERN LIBYANS

10.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that for many young eastern men, jihad in Iraq was perceived to be a local issue. Among the factors fueling that perception, he pointed to the proselytizing influence of Libyan fighters who had fought in Afghanistan and now recruited young eastern Libyans for operations in Iraq, the influence of Arabic-language satellite television broadcasts, use of the Internet to exchange information and coordinate logistics, and the comparative ease of travel to/from Iraq. During his last visit to the east, relatives and friends cited media reports to the effect that Libyans, most of them from Derna and points east, comprised the second largest cohort of foreign fighters identified in documents seized during last September's Objective Massey operation on the Syria-Iraq border. xxxxxxxxxxxx noted that a majority of those in Derna who raised the issue appeared to take pride in the fact that their small city had contributed disproportionately to the jihad against coalition forces in Iraq.

"CODED" MOSQUE SERMONS MORE RADICAL IN EAST

11.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx partly attributed the fierce mindset in Benghazi and Derna to the message preached by imams in eastern Libyan mosques, which he said is markedly more radical than that heard in other parts of the country. xxxxxxxxxxxx makes a point of frequenting mosques whenever he visits Libya as a means to connect with neighbors and relatives and take the political pulse. Sermons in eastern mosques, particularly the Friday 'khutba', are laced with "coded phrases" urging worshippers to support jihad in Iraq and elsewhere through direct participation or financial contributions. The language is often ambiguous enough to be plausibly denied, he said, but for devout Muslims it is clear, incendiary and unambiguously supportive of jihad. Direct and indirect references to "martyrdom operations" were not uncommon. By contrast with mosques in Tripoli and elsewhere in the country, where references to jihad are extremely rare, in Benghazi and Derna they are fairly frequent subjects.

ARCHITECTURE, GEOGRAPHY COMPLICATE GOL CONTROL OF EASTERN MOSQUES

12.(S/NF) Part of the difficulty for GOL authorities in controlling eastern mosques is that the most zealous imams tend to preach in small suburban and rural mosques. He mentioned the almost festive atmosphere of one trip, when relatives gathered to travel to a remote rural mosque to hear a "controversial" imam's sermon. Unlike Tripoli, mosques in the east tend to be smaller and more numerous, making it harder to monitor all of them. Architecture and local heritage also play a role: many mosques in the east don't physically resemble traditional mosques elsewhere in the country, reflecting in part the pseudo-secret tradition of the Sanussi lodges that evolved in eastern Libya in the mid-19th century. The fact that many eastern mosques are less readily identifiable make it harder for GOL security organizations to identify them and easier to hold unobserved meetings and sermons, xxxxxxxxxxxx said. He claimed that it is "widely known" in the east that mosques in town centers are more closely monitored by GOL security organizations; however, it has been more difficult for security organizations to monitor smaller, more remote mosques in exurbs and towns around Benghazi and Derna.

AS DO TIGHT FAMILY, SOCIAL CIRCLES

13.(S/NF) Citing conversations with relatives, xxxxxxxxxxxx said it is "common knowledge" that GOL security organizations attempt to monitor mosque sermons and activities, particularly Friday 'khutba' sermons. (Note: In Tripoli and other parts of the country, an officially-sanctioned Friday 'khutba' theme and talking point-equivalents are distributed to mosques, often by facsimile. End note.) In addition to the proliferation of smaller, less visible mosques, the ability of security organizations to effectively monitor eastern Libyan mosques is circumscribed by the comparatively tight social and familial structure. Communities in the east tend to be smaller and more tightly knit; outsiders are easier to spot and families "watch out" for members who may have been turned by GOL security organizations to report on the activities of their relatives and neighbors.

14.(S/NF) xxxxxxxxxxxx related the story of a young man from Derna who was recently suspected of reporting to GOL security organizations on who attended his local mosque and what was said there. The alleged informant was ostracized by his fellow worshippers, townsmen and even family members. After losing his job, reportedly in part because of his "treachery", he fled to Egypt and has not been heard from since.

15.(S/NF) Comment: xxxxxxxxxxxx account affords a relatively rare insider's look at the social, political and economic factors in eastern Libya that have contributed to and facilitated participation by a disproportionately large number of its native sons in "martyrdom acts" and other insurgency operations in Iraq. Conventional wisdom holds that the east is poorer and more disenfranchised in part by deliberate design; however, senior GOL officials have recently made a point of spending more time and investing more effort there. Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, the regime's most public face of political and economic reform, chose to hold the first and second meetings of his annual Youth Forum in Benghazi in 2006 and 2007, and gave important addresses to large crowds there. In the run-up to both events, he spent considerable time in and around Benghazi, promoting economic and social development projects under the auspices of the ostensibly non-governmental Qadhafi Development Foundation, which he heads. Among them was a billion dollar-plus "green" project for development of an environmentally-friendly tourism/business zone adjacent to the Graeco-Roman ruins at Cyrene, near Benghazi. Work on an extensive renovation of Benghazi's port, designed to help rejuvenate shipping volume and create local jobs, also continues. The most troubling and difficult aspect of xxxxxxxxxxxx's account is the pride that many eastern Libyans, particularly those in and around Derna, appear to take in the role their native sons have played in the insurgency in Iraq. The reported ability of radical imams to propagate messages urging support for and participation in jihad despite GOL security organizations' efforts suggests that claims by senior GOL officials that the east is under control may be overstated. End comment.

I wonder if that "dual-national" was the one living in Virginia who "emerged" as one of the leaders of the resistance?

Cain

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2011, 05:39:27 pm »
Oh ho HO!

http://wikileaks.ch/cable/2008/04/08TRIPOLI307.html

Quote
A key MFA interlocutor discouraged the idea of U.S.-Libya cooperation on counter-ideological or "soft power" efforts to blunt the appeal of the extremist message in eastern Libya, arguing such efforts would be counterproductive. The GOL had recently undergone "an awakening" to the fact that there was a real problem with extremism in the east and was now making serious efforts to counter the threat; the best course for the U.S. would be to publicly "ignore" extremism in eastern Libya. The GOL's strategy appears to combine reliance on traditional efforts by security organizations to monitor and disrupt extremists' activities while engaging in significant development programs to improve socio-economic conditions enough to blunt the appeal of the extremist message. Absent agreement by the GOL to cooperate on counter-ideological or soft power programming, post's efforts have focused on expanding host government capacity through State, DHS and Treasury training and assistance programs, which are expected to bolster counter-terrorism efforts.

In a pair of recent meetings on other issues, P/E Chief engaged with MFA Americas Desk Director Muhammad Matari in a discussion on the possibility of "soft power" programming in eastern Libya to help blunt the appeal of extremist messages and reduce the number of young men volunteering from the area to travel to Iraq to undertake operations against U.S. and coalition forces. Conceding that poor socio-economic conditions in the east, including poor public education and limited social outlets for young people, helped fuel the appeal of more extreme iterations of Islam used to justify jihad operations, Matari nonetheless threw cold water on the idea of soft power programming under the auspices of the USG or any other external entity. The GOL had recently undergone "an awakening" to the fact that there was a real problem with extremism in the east, and was now making "serious efforts" to counter that threat.

Asked whether there was any possibility for U.S.-Libya cooperation on counter-ideological or soft power efforts, Matari counseled that the best course of action regarding eastern Libya was to "ignore it", claiming it would "go away". He strongly advocated against USG counter-ideological public diplomacy or soft power development efforts, arguing they could further legitimize extremism by: 1) showing the extremist message was successful enough that it merited public counter-action; 2) tacitly acknowledging that the GOL is unable to blunt the threat through "traditional, quiet" channels (i.e., through its security apparatus), and; 3) suggesting the GOL facilitated interference by the U.S. and others in what is widely regarded as an internal Libyan matter. On the latter point, Matari noted Libya's difficult experience under Ottoman and Italian colonial occupation, stressing that soft power programming could easily be equated with latter-day imperialist manipulation by extremists, and could prompt Libyans not otherwise inclined towards more extreme iterations of Islam to embrace extremism as a form of viable resistance to foreign meddling.

Attributing much of the problem in eastern Libya to the unhelpful influence of extremists from Algeria and Egypt, Matari emphasized that cross-border influence from Egypt is particularly dangerous. Citing previous visits to Algiers and Cairo, Matari claimed part of the problem is the dearth of moderate literature compared to more readily available texts advocating more extreme iterations of Islam. An infusion of moderate literature, such as the writings of Jamal al-Banna, a comparatively moderate Egyptian theologian and younger brother of the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, would help. (Note: Jamal al-Banna, a consistent advocate of Islamic reform, has publicly disputed traditional Islamic teachings on treatment of women and jihad, and created the "Committee for the Defense of Victims of Terror Fatwas". End note.) But this was something for the GOL to do; it was "highly unlikely" that the GOL would sanction any USG-supported effort in counter-ideological programming. Referencing the Italian colonial occupation, he stressed that anything related to curriculum and political/religious messages is deemed to be "for the government (of Libya) alone to manage".

As an alternative to counter-ideological programming, P/E Chief suggested the possibility of micro-enterprise and other targeted development, possibly to be implemented by quasi-governmental NGO's such as the Qadhafi Development Foundation. Matari underscored the GOL's sensitivity concerning anything that appeared to be foreign assistance, suggesting "as a friend" that the U.S. recall that Libya's official position is that it is an oil-rich state that provides assistance to others not blessed with oil, particularly sub-Saharan African states. (Note: Several international oil companies tried soon after TRIPOLI 00000307 002.2 OF 002 re-starting operations in 2004 to engage in targeted development under the auspices of their corporate outreach programs - soccer leagues, tutoring programs, micro-loan and micro-enterprise projects. The GOL categorically declined the oil companies' offer, telling them instead that they could pay for school construction or provide money to the GOL to implement programs. End note.) Unbidden, Matari offered that USAID would, for example, almost certainly not be welcome to undertake programming in the east or elsewhere in Libya.

Comment: Matari, who holds a PhD from the University of Oregon, is one of our most sophisticated and sympathetic interlocutors. His remarks underscore continuing GOL neuralgia about any programming that implies the GOL is unable or unwilling to provide for its people. The GOL's "traditional, quiet" channels for dealing with extremism comprise security organizations and, more recently, an increase in macro-economic development projects in eastern Libya. The latter appears to reflect a belated realization that the policy of deliberately impoverishing the east to ensure political quiescence has not worked. The GOL's strategy appears to be to rely on security organizations to monitor eastern communities and mosques to contain the threat while engaging in significant infrastructure upgrades (Benghazi port renovation, Benghazi and Derna water and power upgrades) and development projects (the Green Mountain Eco-tourism project) to improve socio-economic conditions enough to blunt the appeal of extremist messages. As reported ref D, while senior regime figures appear to have recognized that the east merits more attention and investment, the reported ability of radical imams to propagate messages urging support for and participation in jihad despite security organizations' efforts suggests that claims by senior GOL officials that the east is under control may be overstated.

Comment (continued): Post's efforts have focused on expanding host government CT capacity through State, DHS and Treasury programing in areas other than counter-ideology. These programs, in our view, hold more promise for gaining Libyan cooperation. It is expected that a successful recent Diplomatic Security/Anti-Terrorism Assistance (DS/ATA) visit (ref E) will presage a robust program of anti-terrorism, law enforcement and judicial training that will bolster counter-terrorism efforts. Continued customs and border security training akin to a port security program the Embassy recently facilitated will contribute to the GOL's ability to better control its borders and monitor travelers, directly benefitting efforts to control foreign fighter flows. End comment.

Cain

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2011, 05:52:52 pm »
I don't know which of these three emerging strands are more depressing: that the Libyan opposition are made up, at least in part, of viciously pro-AQ fighters, that the US knew the eastern region was a powder-keg waiting to explode but were willing to listen to the advice of "do nothing and it will go away", or that Gadaddi was a keen reader of Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria.

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2011, 07:00:29 am »
Or that I waste time researching and posting this kind of stuff when I could just post some stupid shit about TCC and the thread would go on for forever due to the replies.

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2011, 07:29:10 am »
 :x

Took me a while to dig through this. Appreciate it tho.

So, we're (US + Gaddafi) basically creating the next "Mujahideen"? (I noted the Russian/Afganistan --> US/Iraq narrative shift)
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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #10 on: May 22, 2011, 10:44:41 am »
Or that I waste time researching and posting this kind of stuff when I could just post some stupid shit about TCC and the thread would go on for forever due to the replies.

I certainly much appreciate that you share your research with us Cain. Watching the golden apple bounce around N Africa and the ME is a fascinating, often depressing, and sometimes hysterical occupation. It shows the importance of Wikileaks as a counterbalance for the bland stupidity of most of what passes for debate in the media.

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #11 on: May 22, 2011, 06:25:16 pm »
So much for my hopes about the Us not getting bogged down. I have a strong suspicion that real US - Libya policy has nothing to do with what we hear on TV.

I fear we see Quadafi as a leashed pet instead of a real threat.

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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2011, 05:25:42 pm »
Or that I waste time researching and posting this kind of stuff when I could just post some stupid shit about TCC and the thread would go on for forever due to the replies.

Lack of response isn't the same as lack of value.  We can all troll Wiccans.  We aren't all educated enough to formulate a response concerning the tension in Libya that doesn't look stupid.

I really appreciate the stuff that you post and I read every bit of it, I usually don't respond because I don't know enough to have a response that has any value.
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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2011, 05:43:16 pm »
So much for my hopes about the Us not getting bogged down. I have a strong suspicion that real US - Libya policy has nothing to do with what we hear on TV.

I fear we see Quadafi as a leashed pet instead of a real threat.

He isn't a real threat.
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Re: Our Men in Benghazi
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2011, 06:05:57 pm »
I don't know which of these three emerging strands are more depressing: that the Libyan opposition are made up, at least in part, of viciously pro-AQ fighters, that the US knew the eastern region was a powder-keg waiting to explode but were willing to listen to the advice of "do nothing and it will go away", or that Gadaddi was a keen reader of Thomas Friedman and Fareed Zakaria.

I'm just thinking, "Looks like Iraq all over again."

I mean, it always ALWAYS comes down to mineral/fuel interests. Always. People make it out to be about religion, or politics, but it's all about resource exploitation.
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